Date
April 8, 2021
Author
contenteasy

A Step-by-Step Guide How Startup Can Implement Multichannel Customer Support.

In this article, we want to summarize our own experience in creating multichannel customer support system and talk about its step-by-step implementation.

“Multichannel support” … Actually, it’s not as scary as it sounds. And even your startup can implement it in their practice. We decided to share our experience in multichannel implementation, and we hope that it will be useful to other projects.

 

20 years ago, most companies’ customer service had just a call center. If customers had questions or issues, they could call the toll-free number and speak to a customer service representative. Today, some companies believe that providing such a phone number and having an operator on the line is enough to organize support, but still most use a variety of digital communication channels.

 

Today, multichannel is not just a buzzword. It is a necessary and mandatory strategy for all brands that want to communicate with customers openly and in the same language. It means that each user can choose any channel to contact the company. We are convinced that not only giant corporations, but also startups should implement this strategy. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies with a well-developed multichannel strategy hold an average of 89% of their customers, compared with just 33% for the rest.

 

Implementing multichannel customer support is not an easy task, especially if you start from scratch. In this article, we want to summarize our own experience in creating such a system and talk about its step-by-step implementation.

Step 1. Determine which communication channels your target audience prefers to use.

Today, there are a huge number of communication channels – from email to WhatsApp. The first question a young company should ask itself is, “What communication channels do my target customer segments prefer to use?” Of course, it is assumed that by this time you have already identified these segments and roughly imagine the portrait of the buyer.

 

The first method to determine the preferred communication channels is to refer to existing statistics:

 

▪️ Email. This method of communication would be preferred by 60.7% of users aged 14-18, 77.8% of users aged 19-34 and 78.8% of users aged 56-67. (Adestra, Consumer Digital Usage and Behavior Study).

▪️ Online chat. 63% of millennials prefer to receive answers to simple questions via online chat. People under the age of 36 are 20% more likely to choose online chat as a way to connect with a company than people over 65. (Software Advice).

▪️ Messengers and social networks. Among users of social networks and instant messengers, the majority are people aged 16 to 24 – 33% of Facebook Messenger, 32% of Viber, 31% of WhatsApp, 29% of Skype. (Global Webindex).

▪️ At the same time, 43% of people aged 16 to 24 use social networks to study information about a product or service. For people aged 25 to 34, this figure is 38%; from 35 to 44 years old – 35%; from 45 to 54 years old – 28%; from 55 to 64 years old – 19%. (Global WebIndex Summary).

 

Another method is to conduct your own research among the target audience. It is more resource-intensive, but this way you can get more accurate data on your niche.

Step 2. Create your own customer engagement strategy

Creating your own strategy from scratch is a difficult task. It is good that before any startup there are examples and successful experience of large companies. When creating your strategy for interaction with users, you can be guided by the basic “postulates” of customer service and common sense.

 

Perhaps a detailed discussion of all the principles of strategy development can be a topic for a separate article, but we can highlight a few key points. First, it is necessary to prioritize the appeal of each client, not to distinguish between “paid” and “free” users. Every interaction is important and meaningful. Another point that needs to be included in the strategy is the desire to exceed customer expectations.

 

Together with the interaction strategy, it is useful to develop or adopt existing tactics for neutralizing negativity, as well as create several message templates with answers to typical questions. Knowing the tactics will help your employees feel more savvy in difficult customer situations, and response templates will speed up the processing of many requests.

 

What is the important difference between a multichannel strategy? Do everything possible to provide a high level of service in the same way through different communication channels. Imagine that a client turned to chat and received a quick and comprehensive response from a friendly employee, and the next day sent an email and was completely ignored? All the efforts that were spent on processing the first request will be in vain, and the client will end up being unhappy.

Step 3. Establish standards for handling requests, select teams and, if necessary, train them. Implement a KPI and sanctions system.

One of the most common problems in multichannel service is the lack of unity between communication channels. Accenture conducted a study and found that 89% of customers feel frustrated and frustrated if they have to repeat the essence of the problem to different people.

Wrong:

Client: “Hello. I wrote to you the day before yesterday in WhatsApp, I wanted to clarify how you can get access to your API? Waiting for an answer.”

Agent: “Good afternoon. I can’t see this chat. Can you specify what time you wrote about it? Now I’ll ask you again. ”

Right:

Client: “Hello. I wrote to you the day before yesterday in WhatsApp, I wanted to clarify how you can get access to your API? Waiting for an answer.”

Agent: “Good afternoon. Yes, I see that you spoke with our manager John. Today we have opened access for you, check it in your Personal Account. ”

 

Call processing standards may vary depending on the communication channel, the specifics of your business and other factors. The statistics tell us the following:

 

▪️ For a phone call: 53% of customers wait to be answered within 3 minutes.

▪️ For e-mail: the maximum allowed response time is 24-48 hours.

▪️ For social networks: 42% of users expect an answer within an hour, 32% – within 30 minutes.

 

Working with GotYourBack Support clients, we have established the following standards: reply to mail within 1 hour on weekdays, reply to messages from chat and instant messengers within 5 minutes (usually instantly), answer Skype calls instantly. Also, our standard includes a mandatory rule – to minimize the efforts of customers. According to statistics, 55% of customers admit that the more affordable it is to get support from a company, the more likely they are to love it. We ourselves were convinced of this more than once when we received flattering reviews about our client service.

 

Staff training and proper motivation is one of the main steps on the path to impeccable service. The choice of motivation methods is at your discretion, and we will only provide statistics. 81% of employees are better motivated by management’s recognition of the value of their work, while the fear of losing their jobs motivates only 37% of people.

Step 4. Choose a service for multichannel support.

Today, there are many proposals on the market for organizing multichannel support – from box solutions to cloud services. To process tickets, we have created several email channels for different types of requests (Support, Feedback, PR and others), as well as a single chat channel, where all messages from the chat widget on the site are received.

 

To choose the service that suits you, it is worth answering the following questions:

▪️ The price you can afford

▪️ What communication channels are needed (see Step 1)

▪️ Which options are critical and which ones can be neglected

▪️ Do you need integration with other services

▪️ Do you need a cloud service or a standalone solution

▪️ How technically savvy are your employees, how easy is it for them to master the service

 

The answers to these questions will be the criteria for choosing a multichannel support system.

Step 5. Evaluate results, measure performance and, if necessary, make changes to the strategy.

To understand if the system is working correctly and what are the weak points, it is advisable to measure the performance of support staff. As a rule, the generally accepted KPIs for such specialists are as follows:

 

▪️ The speed of response to the request.

▪️ Average time to resolve an application.

▪️ Number of processed applications for the period.

▪️ The percentage of successfully processed applications.

▪️ Number of resolved requests by priority.

▪️ Number of complaints against the agent.

▪️ Average user rating.

 

At the outset, measuring the first, second, and fourth metrics will suffice, but as your customer base and support team grows, there are others to consider. Once you understand the weaknesses in your support system, don’t hesitate to make changes.

Conclusion

As a result of implementing a multichannel strategy in customer communication, you are almost guaranteed to improve metrics such as customer satisfaction, customer engagement, and customer retention rate.

 

We summarized our experience in organizing and operating a multichannel customer support system and came to the following conclusions:

 

▪️ The most important thing in a multichannel strategy is the choice you provide to the client. If he emailed yesterday and chatted today, your support team needs to know the history of previous interactions. Don’t take away the choice from the client because it will be easier for you.

▪️ Provide the communication channels your customers need. To understand which channels your audience is using, study existing research or do your own.

▪️ No matter how many channels you provide, there must be an exchange of information between them. If different people work with the channels, they must constantly communicate and share information.

▪️ Assess your resources and capabilities sensibly. For example, if you don’t have enough agents to handle a huge stream of requests from social networks, do not rush to connect everything at once.

▪️ It is not a good idea to bind an agent to one channel. Support staff should switch from time to time. If you constantly respond only to letters, or vice versa chat, then the risk of burnout is high.

Gartner estimates that 89% of companies will soon compete for consumers based on customer experience alone. Therefore, it is in your best interest to implement a multichannel strategy today, improving it every day.

5 / 5. 2

Date
April 8, 2021
Author
contenteasy

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